In this edition

Quote of the month

“What Romantic terminology called genius or talent or inspiration is nothing other than finding the right road empirically, following one’s nose, taking shortcuts.”

— Italo Calvino


Welcome to our August 2014 newsletter: Shortcuts and tricks in MS-Office

Software applications are loaded with features, many of which we never discover.

How often have you peered over someone’s shoulder and exclaimed, ‘How did you do that?’

In this edition, we invite you to peer over our shoulders and perhaps discover a new keyboard shortcut or feature that increases your productivity.

Enjoy our tips and, as always, we’d love your feedback via Facebook, Twitter or email us.

Regards from the @EconnectTeam:

Freezing panes

By Mary O’Callaghan

You know when you scroll down in an Excel spreadsheet and the column headings disappear from view?

Or you scroll to the right and lose your place because you can no longer see the first column?

‘Freeze Panes’ is a simple way to make a row and/or column ‘freeze’ so that it’s always visible, even when you scroll.

To freeze the top row, select the View menu, click on Freeze Panes and then select Freeze Top Row.

To freeze the left-most column, select the View menu, click on Freeze Panes and then select Freeze First Row.

Even more useful is the way you can freeze multiple rows and columns in one hit.

To do this, click in one cell, then click on Freeze Panes, and then select Freeze Panes. Now, all rows above the cell and all columns to the left of the cell will remain visible as you scroll.

In the example below, if I click in the ‘Mitchell’ cell and then select Freeze Panes, the top row and the first 2 columns will always be visible no matter where I scroll.

If you accidentally selected the wrong row/column/cell, just click on Freeze Panes and then select Unfreeze Panes.

This article applies to MS-Office 2007.

Paste special

By Mary O’Callaghan

I’m always copying and pasting text between applications and documents.

Usually when I paste I don’t want the formatting of the original text, which may be from a website, a PDF, a Word document, a spreadsheet or an email.

Rather, I want the text to have the same format (typeface, font, colour) as the text in my destination document.

To achieve this, you can use the MS-Office Paste Special function, or the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Alt+v.

First, copy the text from your source document. Then, in your destination document, position your cursor where you want the text to be placed, and use Ctrl+Alt+v.

You will see a list of options, one of which is Unformatted text. Choosing this option pastes the text into your document while applying the style of your destination document.

Pasting as a picture is also useful. If you want to copy cells from a spreadsheet and paste them into an email or a Word document, you can select Paste Special and then Bitmap, and the cells appear as a picture, which is easier to manipulate because it is a single item. It also prevents anyone from changing the contents of the cells.

This feature works in MS-Office 2007.

Replacing text without a mouse

By Sarah Cole

When I’m using keyboard shortcuts in an MS-Office application, I dislike having to use the mouse to finish the action of the shortcut, especially when I’m doing a repetitive task.

For example, when I’m finding and replacing all instances of a word with another word, having to use the mouse to position the cursor in the text box each time would slow me down.

Here’s a tip. If you need to replace text, instead of using Ctrl+f to find the text and then mousing to the ‘Replace’ tab, use Ctrl+h.

Ctrl+h takes you directly to the ‘Replace’ tab and places the cursor in the ‘Find what’ box, so you don’t need to use the mouse at all. You can also tab to the ‘Replace with’ box – again, no mousing.

Ctrl+g is a handy shortcut for the ‘Go To’ command. You can go direct to a page number, for example, or go back 3 pages by entering ‘-3’.

These shortcuts work in MS-Office 2007.

Filming your PowerPoint presentation 

By Robbie Mitchell

It’s a shame that we spend so much time crafting presentations, only to share them with a select few.

Sharing an audio-video of your presentation gives viewers far more context than they would get from just viewing the slides and makes your presentation far more useful and engaging.

Yes, it would be awesome to have a TEDx crew on hand, filming our presentation and sharing it with thousands of potential viewers.

The good news is that you can do it quite easily yourself.

In our workshop, Social media and Web 2.0 for scientists, we show you how to use MS PowerPoint (2010) to:

  • record audio of you giving your presentation
  • sync the audio with your slideshow to make a video
  • upload the video to YouTube.

We suggest you record your presentation during a practice run rather than during your live session because:

  • audio levels are more stable when you are talking in front of your laptop rather than moving around a stage (assuming you’re not intending to use a roaming microphone)
  • you are likely to be more succinct if you are reading from a script
  • it’s a great way to review how you deliver your talk.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Create your slides and write your script.
  2. Print off your script.
  3. Make sure you have a functioning microphone either built into your computer or attached.
  4. Open your slides.
  5. Navigate to the Slide Show tab on the menu bar.
  6. Click on Record Slide Show. This will open up your slideshow in the Presenter View.
  7. Read from your script and flick through your slides as you would in your presentation. There are functions to allow you to pause and re-record audio along the way. Have a play with the functions or follow this instructional video.
  8. When you’re happy with your recording, click File (in the top menu) and select Save as Movie. This will save your slides and your audio as a .wmv movie file, which you can then upload to YouTube.

Mac users: Movies created with Macs will not have sound. You can overcome this by using your mobile phone to record the audio while you are recording the presentation. Then, import into iMovie the silent movie you created in PowerPoint and the audio from your phone, and create a second movie.

Happy sharing.